Animals

Do you know how to care for a hamster?

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When thinking of a hamster as a companion animal, we can only be tender for its tiny size and sweet appearance. It is also common to imagine a positive interaction. Until he bites us!

There are many people who adopt this little rodent without being well informed or have their first contact when they are home. So, if the hamster has not been well socialized, they receive a small bite and, although it does not hurt, it is obvious that it's not something nice.

It is important to have a positive attitude with our new hamster, but how should we act in the face of continued bites? In this Animal Expert article we will show you how to prevent my hamster from biting me, Don't lose detail!

Why do hamsters bite?

There are different causes that can cause a hamster to manifest aggressive behaviors towards humans, mainly three: genetics, socialization and learning. However, those specimens that suffer pain or illnessThey may also bite when trying to avoid interaction with humans.

Those hamsters who have exemplary parents who show aggressiveness are more likely to develop it as an adult. But also, a lack of socialization with people in the earliest stages or a bad experience lived, can also be the reasons that explain why a hamster bites.

Whether you have identified the cause of this behavior or otherwise, here are some basic tips you can follow to improve your well-being and behavior, factors that will significantly improve your relationship and your character.

How to make your hamster not bite?

It is completely understandable that a hamster, upon arrival at a new home, is not predisposed to be manipulated. They are independent animals that probably fear human beings because of their large size: it is instinctive. We are much older than them and, of course, they are totally aware. However, if we use the patience and we learn to interact positively With them, we will be more likely to earn their trust and have more approaches with them.

If your roborowskii hamster bites, you should try to improve your bond with him by following these tips:

  • During the first days You must offer a quiet and stable environment so you can get used to the new home without stress. Even if you really want to touch him and spend time with him, it is important to respect the adaptation times.
  • Take care of the environment and prepare the cage for your hamster properly, making sure it has enough space, toys and all the necessary accessories to enjoy a state of well-being.
  • Don't wake up your hamster when I'm sleeping It is very important that the small rodent be able to associate us in a positive way, so if you scare him, he will start to fear you. Respect his sleeping hours and interact with him only when he is awake.
  • Make it get used to your presence putting food inside the cage and handling accessories when he is inside. At first you should not touch him, just accustom him to begin to tolerate the presence of your hand in the cage.
  • Make him show interest in you speaking to him in a soft voice, offering him pieces of fruit recommended for hamsters and respecting his space whenever he runs away or hides.
  • Make gradual approximations, that is, do not try to take it without notice. It is better that, little by little, you are making approaches with your hand so that you are more accustomed to it.

It is important to note that this process can take days, weeks and even months. Depending on the cause that is causing the aggressive attitude of our hamster we can take more or less time. In any case, being patient and acting positively and calmly will be key to solving it.

Where do hamsters come from?

Hamsters are small rodents of the Cricetinae subfamily, originating in Asia. The common hamster lives in Europe and Siberia, causes damage to agriculture, the rat-tailed one comes from Russia and from China, the dwarf from East Asia. The most widespread hamster as a domestic and laboratory animal is dorado, which comes from Syria. There it was discovered by the naturalist Waterhouse in 1839.

Hamster Behavior

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means they sleep most of the day and it is at night that they are most active. These rodents are lonely and very territorial, in the wild they only come together to mate. There is some species like the Russian and Chinese dwarf hamster that can be put together, but you have to take care of living together. Shyness is also a feature of their behavior, before any noise or feeling of threat will lead them to hide.

Now we will analyze some attitudes to understand the behavior of hamsters:

Grooming:When a hamster is groomed it means that he feels happy and safe. Being flirtatious and ready is part of your safety. It may not seem common, but your hygiene is part of your behavior by licking the legs first and then the rest of the body.

Yawning and stretching:You may see how the hamster yawns and stretches his body and limbs. It may not seem extraordinary, but these behaviors indicate that you feel happy and comfortable with your surroundings and habitat.

Marking:Hamsters are territorial animals and like to mark their space. They have a gland in the belly, and so they rub with the objects or elements of their environment. In this way they record their presence permeating their smell.

Sounds: They emit different sounds such as squeaking, hissing or noise grinding their teeth. When a hamster emits squeaks it means that it is afraid or agitated. It is normal behavior, it happens when you are taken to a new environment and will stop doing it when you get used to your new habitat. When he grinds his teeth, it means he is decreed and prefers loneliness. It is advised not to touch it because it could bite us. When a hamster hisses means that he is scared or feels threatened.

Bite the bars of the cage: When a hamster gnaws the bars of the cage it means he is trying to get your attention. To avoid gnawing the bars you have to give some object or material to gnaw and that is not annoying. They usually gnaw their cage in the afternoon / evening when they are most active and feel alone.

Gnaw:It is a basic need for hamsters. It helps them keep their teeth at bay, since they never stop growing. If they do not gnaw, the teeth grow to the point of causing illness and serious dental problems. We just have to make sure the bars are not rusty.

Listening:When a hamster is sitting on its hind legs, it means there is something that caught your attention. They put their ears on top to perceive the sound or movements.

Bite your hands:The hamster may not yet be tamed or feel fear and react by biting. It must take time for him to get used to you. Many times if you have finished eating or have handled food, there may be remains, and if the hamster detects food, it may bite you. You have to wash your hands before and after stroking the hamster.

What do hamsters eat?

Hamsters must always have fresh food and water at their disposal. We find plenty of prefabricated commercial foods, but it should not be your only food and we can complement the diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. They also like seeds, grains, nuts and corn very much. In the wild they also eat insects, frogs, lizards and other small animals.

Your diet requires a high content of fiber, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Fats due to your body do not digest easily, so excessive consumption is not recommended.

As for the right hamster food we can find:

Seeds and cereales: They are very important in their diet because they are a source of carbohydrates and provide fiber for good digestion. Some recommended seeds or cereals are: soy, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, wheat, barley, rice, flax seed. Corn and sunflower seeds can cause allergies, so watch your reaction and add them or remove them from your diet.

Fruits: They are a complement to give as a prize. Do not abuse much of the fruit and include them moderately since too much sugar can cause diabetes. You have to rinse the fruits and let them stand until after 2 minutes before giving it. The most recommended fruits are: apple (without seeds), banana, peach, pear, plum, melon, strawberry, raspberry, apricot. Campbell's dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes, so it is not advisable to give them fruits and foods that contain a lot of sugars.

Vegetables or vegetables: Although vegetables are necessary in the hamster's diet, we must supply them in a moderate way. They provide essential vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber among other benefits. The best vegetables for hamsters are peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots, fennel, zucchini and potatoes. They can also eat cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, chard, asparagus, kale, natural cob corn.

Protein: Hamsters are omnivorous, so they need food that gives them protein. Not every type of protein is ideal for these rodents. Do not give products prepared for humans as they contain high salt and other preservatives. The most suitable are mealworms, chicken or turkey, cooked cod without skin or bones, cooked egg, tofu, grasshoppers and crickets, low-fat cottage cheese. Special food for hamsters purchased at the veterinary also contains protein.

Nuts: They have an important nutritional contribution for hamsters. Dried fruits can be used as a reward as a training tool. A diet with excessive use of nuts will make you fat and suffer from obesity, with the consequent diseases that it entails. Hazelnuts, nuts, chestnuts, raisins, peanuts all without roasting or salt are suitable. Almonds are not suitable for consumption as they contain hydrocyanic acid.

Next we leave a list of foods you should not eat the hamsters:

Chocolate, candies, jams, corn, peas, carrots, strawberries

Citrus fruits (tangerines, oranges, limes, lemons)

French fries and raw potatoes

Pork products

Onion, chives, leeks, garlic, parsley

Raw Tomato and Tomato Leaves

Grape and apple seeds

Watermelon (contains a lot of water and causes diarrhea)

Why does my hamster bite me if I didn't do it before?

Sometimes it can happen that, after gaining the trust of a hamster, it begins to bite us intentionally, although at the same time it plays and lets itself be manipulated without any problem. What do the hamster bites mean then?

In these cases we must rule out that it is a organic cause, that is, that our little rodent bites us due to illness or pain. You can palpate your hamster gently and gently press different parts of his body to discover if he feels pain at some point in his body. If so, visit the exotic veterinarian It is obligatory.

On the other hand, it can also happen that our hamster bites us by way of greeting. In these cases we will talk about a soft bite and, after it, the hamster will act normally before our presence, will not try to flee or hide.

How to act when the hamster bites us?

Whatever the cause of the aggressive behavior, know some basic guidelines Driving will be essential to know how to prevent my hamster from biting me. Of course, during the first days we must not move away or withdraw our handEven if the bite has been painful, only in this way will you understand that the bite is not a useful tool for us to get away from it.

Even so, manipulating him while we bite ourselves is not a good option, neither for us nor for him, since it will increase the levels of fear and anxiety in our little hamster. Instead, we must learn to educate our hamster using positive reinforcement and negative punishment:

  • Positive reinforcement: consists of rewarding behavior that we consider appropriate. For example, if our hamster shows some interest in us, we can reward him every time he approaches our hand, in this way he will associate our presence and his approach with prizes, so we will be more likely to repeat that behavior.
  • Negative punishment: consists of removing something nice from inappropriate behavior. For example, if we are playing with our hamster on the sofa and it bites us, we will put it back in the cage and end the game.

Remember that associations do not occur immediately, they are required several repetitions so that the animal can relate its behavior to the subsequent reinforcement or punishment.

Inadequate methods to correct bites

Some people use wrong and undesirable methods, such as positive punishment, which not only they don't help to improve the situation, but also make it worse. Here are two inappropriate methods to correct a hamster:

  • Blow in the hamster's face when he bites: a priori it may seem harmless punishment, but it is not so. Although it is possible that he will associate the bite with these types of actions, the truth is that he will also be associating our presence with an unpleasant situation. It also increases levels of anxiety and stress, causing rejection and fear towards us.
  • Give some blows to the head: As in the previous case, this "technique" causes a bad association of our presence, discomfort and discomfort. Nor is it positive to hit an animal so small precisely because of its small size. An excess of force could hurt him.

They are very raw

Ferrets are animals very raw and exaggerated and their games are always based on fights and bites, especially when they are young.

They are also animals of hierarchical customs So making it clear who is the boss is one of their main issues, and they apply it both to their ordering form and when they are simply playing.

Ferrets have the skin very hard, so they hardly feel pain with the bites that stick in their games and battles. But of course, we humans don't have such hard skin ...

Ferrets always play to stick and bite.

Other frequent doubts

To finish, we will solve some frequent doubts that some owners ask themselves, do not lose detail:

  • What happens if a Russian hamster bites you? The bite of a Russian hamster is neither dangerous nor extremely harmful. You should be aware that hamsters can bite on occasion, but if you follow our guidelines you can solve it effectively.
  • Can hamsters transmit any disease? While it is true that rodents are associated with serious diseases such as rabies, the truth is that a domestic hamster has few probabilities>

If you want to read more articles similar to How to prevent my hamster from biting me?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.

Frustration

Ferrets are animals that they can't live locked up Most of his time. We must leave them walk, run and play at home, in addition to take them out for a walk. If we don't take into account your basic needs, the ferret will get frustrated and start adopting a elusive and aggressive character where the bite is practically insured.

Let them walk and run around the house (checking that there is nothing that can harm them or that they can ingest) will soon have want to rest and go to sleep in any corner (and they can get to sleep 18 hours!).

We must take our ferrets for a walk in green areas.

If your toy disappears

It is a funny feature but true ... we must keep in mind that ferrets are about little thieves. If we don't provide them with a toy that they like, they will pick up an object or more randomly and make it their own and hide it for some corner.

If we take that object, we take it and our ferret sees that it is no longer where he left it, he probably gets angry and tends to bite us.

Being a thief comes from "family." Raccoons are also friends of the alien and belong to the family of procynids, the closest to the must.

Strong link with your human companion

The ferret creates an very strong link with the person that takes care of him, his needs and to give him affection.

This strong link will be beneficial for the person whom the ferret respects and loves ... but not so much for those friendly visitors who come to greet that small and elongated musty eyes.

The ferret will show suspicious of people that you don't know and you might try to bite them.

Ferrets create a very strong bond with the person who takes care of you.

Tips and tricks: What to do so that our ferret doesn't bite?

The keys for a ferret to stop biting are similar to those we would apply to a rodent. We must impose certain rules and, in the last case, a punishment that implies a little insulation.

In no case should we be aggressive with our ferret because that will make the ferret get angry or scared and it won't do any good. These are some things what can you do to your ferret doesn't bite.

Tap your nose

Give him three soft taps in the nose and alternate these with the blows when you have done something wrong you will also be very useful and effective to stop biting.

A few taps on his nose will stop him from biting.

Take it from the neck fold

Grabbing him from the neck crease would be the punishment that, wildly, would impose his mother if this misbehaved being a child. Thus let's make our ferret relax and stop doing what you are doing. In fact, it may even make you sleepy. Grabbing the fold of the neck is something similar to a “stop”.

Repeat "no", "not that" or "that is wrong"

Repeat this kind of words or phrases when we are applying any of these orders will give us authority and will make the ferret respect us more.

They're sleepers! Because they spend a lot of energy.

Not be afraid

Ferrets are very intelligent animals and can detect if we are afraid and take advantage of the situation. Let us keep in mind that they love to impose their command so if they see that they can send they will try. We must be respected and taught to them that we also send there.

This is also applicable to rlisteners that are nibbles by nature (hamsters and rats generally). In this case we will go from being able to catch them without any scratch if we do it safely, to catch them awkwardly and taking more of a bite if we do it with fear and without tranquility.

Isolation

If we see that the bites do not stop despite the previous orders we will move on to something more resounding and you will not like anything: isolate him in the transport.

If your ferret is fiddling and having fun at home and bites you, punish him half an hour approximately in transport. He will not like this because he wanted to play and have fun, so will think twice if bite you next time.

We will use the transport to punish them, never the cage.

Be patient! Your ferret will not stop biting from one day to another because nobody learns the rules so quickly. We must leave some time, let him understand that what he does is not right and learn to have fun without nailing those small but sharp teeth.

Ferrets have carnivorous animal jaws, nothing to do with a rodent.

How can I clean my hamster?

Normally, hamsters are clean animals and we can see that they spend time daily for their hygiene. It is not convenient to wash hamsters unless they have some toxic or harmful substance embedded in their fur.

Hamsters They are very sensitive to temperature changes and air currents. If your hamster needs a bath, it is recommended not to use water unless it is absolutely necessary. Water could remove natural oils from your skin and hair, weakening your immune system and being able to get some disease.

We can also comb the hamster frequently to help remove dirt from the hair and keep skin lubricated. This is done by combing from the middle of the body towards the head first and then from the middle of the body towards the tail.

Now we will detail safer alternatives to clean your hamster.

Bathe the hamster with sand: Wild hamsters use this method to clean themselves using soil sand. To simulate these conditions at home, we will buy chinchilla sand and we will place the sand in a container. We can place the container inside its cage or if it is too large, we will take the hamster and put it in the container to start digging and turning. In this way they remove the dirt they carry on skin and hair. Once it is ready, we remove the container, and if we leave it in its cage, we must ensure that it is not used as a latrine.

Bathe the hamster with a damp cloth or wipes: There are special wet wipes for animals, which do not contain any harmful substances for them. Baby wipes contain perfumes, detergents and other additives that can be harmful. On the other hand we can use a damp cloth, soaking it in a bowl with warm water and a few drops of pet shampoo (without foaming). Hold the hamster in the palm of your hand, and with both the cloth and the wipes it gives friction from front to back, avoiding contact with eyes and nose. After finishing friction, the hamster must be dried with a towel.

Bathe the hamster with water: It can only be considered when absolutely necessary, for example if it has been stained with paint, detergent or some other toxic substance. Its natural cleaning process (licking fur) is dangerous, as it could be swallowed and intoxicated.

Now we explain how to bathe the hamster step by step:

We fill a container with 2 cm of warm / hot water.

Wet it, being careful that water does not fall on your face. Rub it with a damp cloth or a soft toothbrush.

If the toxic or sticky substance does not come out with water alone, we need pet shampoo. Rub it and try not to touch the foam to your eyes and nose.

Rinse the hamster, pour warm water until the remains of the shampoo are completely removed.

To dry the hamster use a soft, clean cloth. Cover it completely by tapping or rubbing it. If you rub it in the direction of hair growth and gently.

Once dry, return it to its cage to rest. Make sure you have enough substrate to warm up and put the cage in a warm place with no currents. It is important that you give him a prize.

Other solutions: If for example it has plasticine, chewing gum or embedded glue, you can cut the strand of the affected hair. This is a more effective solution than the previous ones. This way you do not run the risk of catching a cold and your hair will grow and look like before.

Hamster diseases

Hamsters can be affected by various types of diseases, many of them similar to those that affect us. To avoid diseases or health problems it is important to provide adequate food and a dose of physical exercise daily. We must know the symptoms to act as soon as possible or go to the veterinarian to evaluate a clear diagnosis.

In this post we mention the diseases that affect hamsters:

Cold:If the hamster's cage is in a cold place or with drafts it is not an appropriate place. Being sensitive to temperature changes they may get a cold. The symptoms of a cold hamster are wheezing, wet nose, shortness of breath, sneezing and also usually take a stooped position when they sit. If your hamster has a cold, the cage must be placed in a dry and warm place. A soft diet is the most convenient when they have colds.

Obesity:An incorrect diet and lack of physical exercise will generate obesity in the hamster. In addition an obese hamster also becomes more lazy. In case of overweight, you have to maintain a balanced diet by increasing the fruit / vegetable portions. Replace the prizes, instead of treats, give fresh vegetables. Have him increase physical exercise, running on the wheel, circling at home inside the ball or running around a room.

The approximate weight of each hamster breed is:

Golden Hamster: 140-200 grams

Campbell Hamster: 30-50 grams

Russian hamster: 21-26 grams

Rovorovski Hamster: 20-25 grams

Chinese hamster: 30-45 grams

Diabetes:Diabetes manifests in hamsters with tremors, sudden ups and downs of weight, drink and urinate excessively, sleep more than usual, excessive exercise and lose skin in the stomach and hands. This disease occurs in all hamster breeds, although Campbell's dwarves are genetically predisposed.

If you observe any behavior that may indicate that you have diabetes, you should see a veterinarian. Although it has no cure, it can take steps to improve the quality of life of the hamster. Avoid processed foods, sweet foods and fresh fruits rich in fructose (corn, peas), and in turn increase the protein (carrot, potato, cooked egg, seeds).

Wet tail:It is a bacterial infection that hamsters suffer and that causes extreme diarrhea. An unbalanced diet and stress also help the onset of wet tail disease. The symptoms are that the hamster eats little and moves very slowly and the tail and anus area becomes sticky and moist. With the first symptoms it is necessary to isolate the sick hamster from the other hamsters since it can be spread, and disinfect the cage well. You have to go to the vet when you detect the symptoms, there they will administer the appropriate treatment.

Since dehydration is the leading cause of death, it is important to give fluids and a balanced diet. Liquefied foods and vegetables are perfect, and if you do not want to eat, you can try to sweeten with honey and see if it arouses your appetite.

Skin diseases:Hamsters are affected by different types of bacteria, fungi and parasites that damage the skin and fur. Common symptoms of skin problems are redness of the skin, hair loss, sores, dry skin and itching. Next we comment the most important.

Mites:Mites are small parasites that lodge in the skin and produce itching. Because of the itching the hamster scratches a lot, produces anxiety and irritates the skin. Your hair may fall out. Stress, lack of hygiene or poor diet can be the cause of this problem in the hamster. There are anti-mite sprays, it can be applied to the hair and pine with a small comb or toothbrush.

Allergies:Food intake, improper diet or contact with some substances can cause allergy. It is detected with the naked eye with redness of the skin, sores, hair falls out or has dry skin. Hamsters usually have allergic reactions to cedar, so chips of this material are not recommended.

If you observe any allergy symptoms, you must find out the reason that generates it. It can be some food, cleaning product, deodorants, plants ...

Once the allergen has been detected, it must be removed completely from the hamster habitat.

If no improvement is observed, it is best to see a veterinarian. After making a diagnosis, you will be given the appropriate treatment and other possible diseases are ruled out.

Greasy skin:If a hamster has greasy skin it can be a sign of disease, since it may be due to entering a state of lethargy. It is also because your bed is not clean or is not changed weekly, so your fur absorbs dirt. There are hamsters with greasy skin due to their genes. Roborovski hamsters have a tendency to have greasy skin when they are old.

Abscesses:They are subcutaneous bumps that can appear anywhere on the hamster's body. They can be the result of a bacterial infection that enters the body through a wound. A symptom is inflammation, being able to break and release pus. You have to go to the vet to drain the abscess and clean it.

In hamsters with advanced age, a lump may be somewhat more dangerous and could be a tumor. So it is convenient that as soon as we locate a package we go to an expert.

Tub:If your hamster has bald hair, it is very likely that he has ringworm. It is a fungus that grows on the skin, hair and nails of the hamster generating a skin infection. Apart from baldness, it is represented as reddish patches with relief and flaking that can suppurate. Hamster nails with ringworm also look discolored. You have to go to the vet to prescribe some medication with griseofulvin and antifungal shampoo. You must wear gloves To touch a hamster with ringworm.

The cage should always be clean and airy, as this fungus proliferates better with high humidity. Closed cages are not a good option.

Moles:If you notice that your hamster has come out, you don't have to be alarmed. Moles usually appear due to age, with old age it is more common.

Intestinal problems or diseases:Diarrhea and constipation are the most common disorders of the hamster's intestine. Cuidando la alimentación del hámster se pueden prevenir algunas de ellas, aunque otras se contraen mediante bacterias. A continuación mencionamos algunas de ellas.

Enfermedad de Tyzzer:Es una enfermedad digestiva que la causa la bacteria Clostridium piliforme, teniendo muchas coincidencias con la enteritis proliferativa (diarrea). Se contrae cuando los hámsters se comen las heces que contienen las bacterias. Es más común en los hámster jóvenes. Puede ser muy contagiosa, ya que las bacterias pueden formar esporas y se pueden extender por el hábitat o medio ambiente. Hay que limpiar y desinfectar la jaula, y si hay otros hámsters es recomendable que no tengan contacto hasta que esté todo limpio.

Estreñimiento:El estreñimiento es una obstrucción del intestino que puede generar malestar abdominal, y consecuentemente dejar de comer. Puede ser causada por no ingerir suficientes líquidos o por que no ingiere suficientes verduras o frutas en su dieta. Una dieta con alto contenido en fibra evitará estreñimiento en el hámster. También puedes darle alguna gota de aceite de oliva, esto le ayudará a expulsar la obstrucción.

Prolapso rectal:Se reconoce un prolapso rectal cuando parte del recto sale por el ano del hámster. Esto puede ocurrir después de un caso severo de diarrea, estreñimiento o cola mojada. Hay que acudir al veterinario para que realice una cirugía.

Piedras en la vejiga:Los síntomas cuando un hámster tiene cálculos en la vejiga se manifiestan con dolor, dificultad para orinar y gotitas de sangre en la orina. Las hojas de diente de león ayudan a aumentar la cantidad de orina para así poder expulsar los cálculos. Las verduras o alimentos empapados con agua o zumo de fruta también ayudan a aumentar la cantidad de orina. Un aumento de la vitamina C en su dieta también reducirá la producción de cálculos en la vejiga.

Piometra:La piometra es una infección del útero, por lo que afecta a los hámsters hembra. Se manifiesta con secreción y orina con sangre e hinchazón abdominal. Esta enfermedad resulta mortal si no se trata, por lo que hay que acudir al veterinario para que evalúe la situación. En muchos casos, la única solución es extirpar el útero. La intervención quirúrgica prevendrá la rotura uterina y eliminará la infección y el riesgo de volver a tenerla.

Enfermedades de la vista:Hay que revisar periódicamente que los ojos no tienen legañas, no han aumentado de tamaño o tienen un color extraño ya que son síntomas de alguna afección. Los problemas más comúnes son cataratas, conjuntivitis o el glaucoma.

Conjuntivitis:Es la inflamación de la membrana conjuntiva del ojo (parte interna de los párpados), que hace que los ojos estén pegajosos. Algunos síntomas son enrojecimiento de los ojos, lagrimeo, legañas, aumento de los ganglios y frotamiento de ojos. La conjuntivitis la causan las reacciones alérgicas a lechos, una infección bacteriana, picaduras o alguna lesión interna. Hay que acudir al veterinario para que recete algún antibiótico o tratamiento. Podemos usar agua caliente y fricciones para eliminar la costra alrededor de los ojos o párpados.

Cataratas:Las cataratas suelen aparecer en la vejez del hámster, aunque también son un efecto secundario de la diabetes. Se producen cuando el cristalino del ojo se pone blanco y turbio, que consecuentemente el hámster pierde visión. Conforme avanza la enfermedad, la visión será más pobre ya que no existe tratamiento. Puesto que naturalmente la visión del hámster es muy pobre, no impide su movimiento, siempre que esté en el mismo nivel. Es bueno usar una jaula que tenga solo un nivel, para evitar caídas.

Glaucoma:Se manifiesta con un aumento de tamaño o hinchazón de los ojos. Puede deberse a un mal manejo del hámster, por peleas o por apretar con fuerza en el pescuezo cuando lo cogemos. Para tratar un glaucoma hay que acudir al veterinario cuanto antes, puede que si es demasiado tarde tengan que extraer el globo ocular.

Accidente cerebro vascular:Se manifiesta si aparentemente ves al hámster con la cabeza inclinada a un lado o anda desequilibrado. Aunque estos síntomas también podrían ser causa de una infección respiratoria o del oído. Suele darse en hámsters con edad avanzada y durante la noche. Otra causa de accidente cerebrovascular puede ser el calor excesivo, así que su temperatura idónea es de entre 18ºC a 26ºC.

Incluso después de un accidente cerebrovascular, la vida del hámster puede ser normal. Aunque en algunos casos la inclinación de la cabeza puede permanecer. Si queda alguna secuela, lo más lógico es usar una jaula que solo tenga una planta para evitar accidentes y facilitar el acceso a la comida y la bebida.

Problemas en los dientes:Los dientes de los hámsters son una herramienta muy valiosa. Si observas que los dientes tienen roturas puede ser a que la dieta sea baja en calcio y estos se debilitan. Siempre debe tener juguetes para roer, ya que los dientes nunca dejan de crecer. Si los dientes se hacen muy grandes pueden generar heridas en la boca o mandíbula y el hámster podría dejar de comer.

Problemas en las uñas:El principal problema con las uñas, es cuando éstas se caen o están débiles debido a la falta de proteína en la dieta. La falta de proteína también puede generar caída de pelo, falta de crecimiento e infertilidad. Si se da éste caso, puedes añadir en su dieta habas, queso, guisantes y soja ademas de una dieta equilibrada y sana.

Otro problema que afecta a las uñas es su largura y su forma. Nunca se deben cortar las uñas de un hámster, a no ser que éstas se estén doblando o retorciendo. Para cortar las uñas, debes usar un pequeño corta-uñas especial para pequeños animales o cachorros. Un consejo para mantener la forma natural de las uñas es poner una piedra en la jaula para que el hámster ande pon encima y rasque.

Cáncer:A menudo es una enfermedad tratable, aunque después de eliminar los tumores pueden volver a crecer. Se diagnostican debido a pequeños bultos que salen, y se diferencian en tumores internos o tumores externos. Las probabilidades de padecer cáncer aumentan conforme avanza la edad del hámster.

Los tumores internos son más difíciles de identificar, y sus síntomas vienen acompañados de pérdida de peso, letargo, apatía y algún pequeño bulto. Sin embargo, los tumores externos se detectan fácilmente ya que son bultos duros que crecen rápidamente con el tiempo. En ambos casos es necesaria una intervención quirúrgica y tratamiento. Cuanto antes se practique, más probabilidad de tener un tratamiento con éxito.

Quistes:Son cavidades llenas de líquido y aveces acompañadas de material semi-sólido o aire. La zona a la que afectan los quistes está más hinchada. Un veterinario debe drenar el quiste y tratarlo, aunque con el tiempo puede volver a aparecer.

Quistes ováricos:Se dan en las hembras que nunca han dado a luz. Sus síntomas son flujo vaginal con sangre y aumento de tamaño del vientre. Detectados estos síntomas, hay que acudir al veterinario para que extraiga los quistes con una histerectomía.

Convulsión:Se trata de una enfermedad hereditaria y si es detectada, estos hámsters no deben tener descendencia. Sus síntomas son temblores en las patas y movimientos sin control. Abren la boca y suelen dejar la lengua de fuera, la mirada parece opaca y en ocasiones pueden tener diarrea o hacer pis sin control.

No existe ninguna cura o solución, lo único que se puede hacer es tratar de tranquilizar al hámster. Debes mantener la calma y hablar con una voz tenue, puedes poner la mano alrededor de la jaula para que detecte tu olor y ayude a calmarse.

Curiosidades de los hámsters

  • El nombre hámster proviene del alemán hamstern que significa almacenar. Ya que estos pequeños guardan su comida en los sacos bucales.
  • Aproximadamente en 1930 comenzó su domesticación, cuando un zoólogo encontró una madre y sus crías en el desierto de Aleppo (Siria).
  • Los hámsters viven un promedio de 3 años, aunque pueden durar entre año y medio y 4 años.
  • El periodo de gestación dura 16 días y la camada puede ser de entre 4 y 12 crías.
  • Pueden comenzar a reproducirse a partir de los 45 días de vida.
  • Se dice que una hembra fértil está en un ambiente con temperaturas altas parirá más machos que hembras. Por lo contrario, si está en un ambiente de temperaturas bajas parirá más hembras que machos.
  • No distinguen colores ya que ven en blanco y negro y su campo de visión sólo alcanza unos 15 cm de largo.
  • Frotan sus glándulas contra objetos para dejar su olor y así reconocer el camino por donde han pasado.
  • Sus dientes siempre están creciendo.
  • En libertad, la madriguera de los hámsters se encuentra bajo tierra. Pueden estar entre 1-2 metros de profundidad y tener hasta 10 metros de extensión.
  • Según dicen, son capaces de recordar su nombre y reaccionan cuando se les llama.
  • Son omnívoros, pueden comer tanto alimentos vegetales como animales.
  • Un dato interesante es que son animales nocturnos, pero en cautividad se les ve activos también durante el día.
  • Los hámsters son muy territoriales, esto puede causar peleas.

Jaulas para hámsters

Es muy importante elegir una jaula para hámster que se adapte a sus necesidades. Lo principal es saber cuánto va a crecer, y comprar una jaula de hámster concorde a su tamaño. Es preferible tener una jaula espaciosa ya que debemos poner bastantes enseres (comedero, bebedero, rueda, cama, tubos, letrina).

Las paredes de la jaula debe ser de barrotes de metal horizontales y con una separación entre barrotes de unos 0´60 cm así evitamos que pueda sacar la cabeza y al ser abierta mejora la ventilación. El suelo de la jaula debe ser de plástico y que no tenga barrotes ya que puede quedarse atrapado de alguna pata y lastimarse.

Es necesario meter dentro algunos accesorios para su día a día pero también debemos dejar espacio para desplazarse y se mantenga activo. Un plato para usar de comedero y que esté cercano a su casita o nido. El bebedero de tipo chupete es la mejor opción, así no se moja el suelo. Una casita para usar a modo de madriguera y que pueda dormir y esconderse cuando se sienta vulnerable. Y por supuesto no puede faltar una rueda para corretear y andar.

El suelo debe estar cubierto por un lecho o sustrato. Son animales que les encanta excavar y por lo tanto no puede faltar. Existen varios tipos en el mercado (papel reciclado, aserrín, virutas de madera, alfalfa, pacana, maíz), pero no debemos poner paja o virutas de cedro ya que son perjudiciales.

Transportín para hámsters

A la hora de hacer viajes de poca duración y no queremos llevar la jaula, podemos utilizar los transportines pensados para estos casos. Son ideales para visitas al veterinario y viajes. Suelen estar fabricados de plástico y llevan asas para poder agarrarlos cómodamente. Tienen rendijas para la ventilación, pero como inconveniente es que no suelen tener espacio para poner comederos, bebederos ni juguetes. Solo hace falta poner sustrato y algo de material para que fabrique su cama, y algo de comida suelta.

Existen distintos modelos y tamaños de transportines, con lo cual debes elegir el que mas te guste y mejor prestaciones te de. Pincha aquí para encontrar transportín para roedores.

¿Cómo limpiar la jaula del hámster?

Si tu hámster huele mal no implica que debas bañarlo, mejora la limpieza de su jaula. Por naturaleza los hámsteres no son animales sucios, podemos verlos varias veces al día limpiándose con sus patitas. Sin embargo somos nosotros quienes somos responsables de limpiar su jaula, bebedero y juguetes.

Para tratar de garantizar la limpieza y que el hámster no enferme debemos limpiar una vez por semana la jaula. Empezando por los comederos y los bebederos usamos agua caliente con jabones suaves de uso veterinario para desinfectar los recipientes. Para limpiar los barrotes de la jaula usaremos un cepillo y así eliminaremos la suciedad y otros parasitos o microorganismos. Si no desaparece toda suciedad, hay que sumergir la jaula en agua caliente para facilitar la limpieza.

Hay que retirar la arena, viruta o el heno del fondo de la jaula así como también las deposiciones para que no se conviertan en una fuente de infección. Usando agua caliente para desinfectar el fondo y si hay suciedad agarrada usamos una espátula y un cepillo de dientes. No hay que usar productos muy fuertes o agresivos, ya que su olfato es muy sensible y los limpiadores químicos dejan un potente rastro de olor.

¿Cómo diferenciar el sexo de los hámsters?

Los hámsters alcanzan la madurez sexual muy temprano, a los 35 días y en los adultos es más fácil su distinción. Una pista evidente es que los machos suelen ser mas grandes que las hembras, pero puedes fijarte en la parte inferior de la cola. Para determinar el sexo de los hámsters tienes que esperar al momento oportuno. No les gusta estar panza arriba, por lo que es bueno escoger un momento en el que esté relajado para que no nos muerda.

  1. Lo primero trata de acariciarlo y darle algún alimento para que se sienta cómodo y relajado. Si está dormido o lo notas nervioso es mejor que lo intentes otro momento.
  2. Debes anticipar una posible caída. Colocando una toalla debajo o algún objeto acolchado para evitar lesiones, ya que es algo que les incomoda. La forma más correcta de cogerlo es colocando la palma de la mano bajo su cuerpo y con la otra cógelo por la piel de entre los omóplatos, de esta forma evitaras que te muerda.
  3. Coloca al hámster boca arriba sujetándolo bien por la parte del lomo. Observa su parte trasera, en la parte inferior de la cola. Los machos tienen entre el ano y el órgano sexual una distancia mayor que la que las hembras, que están casi pegados.
  4. En las hembras también se pueden ver dos líneas de mamas en el vientre.
  5. Otra diferencia significativa es que los machos tienen unos testículos prominentes y se aprecia en la parte trasera que tiene dos bultos.

Aquí dejo un pequeño video que aclara como saber si un hámster es macho o hembra.

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